Update on European Laws Concerning Online and Mobile Casinos

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There are twenty-seven member states in the European Union. Seven of them outlaw online gambling. Another seven restrict it to the state-run lotteries or strictly licensed gambling. But thirteen EU member states, half, have legalised it.

Britain, of course, stays just outside the EU in many ways, including how it handles the hot issue of gambling’s social and legal status. Being itself a country tolerant towards mobile casino-gambling the UK apparently finds it easy to foster business in this arena also. Many of the West’s most sophisticated online vendors are British, operating out of Gibraltar where tax is only 1%; even that low, tens of millions of pounds in tax revenues come in.

It is interesting to note how the United States are — in the midst of economic insecurity — increasingly open toward (if not tolerant of) online gambling. Even Washington DC has been advancing a pilot programme. The fact is, choosing to allow and regulate or even take over gambling is rather lucrative and quickly so. But there are only a handful of such states willing to risk that gambit. Meanwhile Europe has a vastly larger percentage of liberalised regimes for online gambling amongst its twenty-seven member states.

Both continents, the US and the EU, appear far from forming universal standards for all their respective states, even though Delaware now approved online casinos, unfortunately for players and for online casino vendors.

At a more zoomed-in level, in Europe there are several countries in which online and mobile casinos are under consideration currently, as in the following.

  • Ireland’s state-run gambling is expanding.
  • Belgium court approved black-listing illegal casinos but not fines.
  • Austria is being called out for de facto anti-gambling ad policies.
  • Bulgaria has drafted a first-cut regulation allowing online betting.
  • Oddly enough, the Netherlands is getting tough on e-casinos.

In many cases where power struggles exist over gambling rights, it is actually the state that seeks to consolidate its public revenues from this form of entertainment. So, it is not entirely incorrect to put it this way: in a country that is debating who runs gambling, normally the public operator is competing with private operators.

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We may wonder where global economic meltdown happens to spur legalisation of previously fringe institutions such as gambling, including light forms like bingo. Tough times can inspire the opposite reaction, a conservative or moralistic reaction, toward potentially shady sports and pastimes (races and casinos).

In this world there may always be ways to side-step prohibitive laws about playing a relaxed hand of poker online, and likewise there may always be a majority of societies in which people are frightened by tolerating gambling.

We might see how this apparent chaos and even contentious atmosphere for mobile casinos, points out how early we are in the history of the ‘global village’ where state lines lose significance and power.